Riley Ridley
Riley Ridley may not be as good as his brother Calvin, but he still has a ton of potential. Don’t sleep on Riley in the 2019 NFL Draft (BOB ANDRES/AJC)

The 2019 NFL Draft has a lot of receivers to dive into. A lot of them are coin flips but if nothing else, it’s a very deep class. One wide out that has become totally overlooked is Georgia’s Riley Ridley. It’s funny because Ridley isn’t just overlooked in this draft. He’s overshadowed within his own family. Calvin Ridley stepped in the Falcons doors day one last year and became an instant starter. While Riley may not be as good as Calvin, he still has plenty of potential.

Riley Ridley is being overlooked because he isn’t the same type of athlete that Calvin is. Calvin ran a 4.43 and was an easy first round pick. Riley ran a 4.58 and probably will get picked in the 2nd or 3rd round. Riley may not have that top end speed but he still gets open. It just happens to be a little shorter to the line of scrimmage. Both Ridley’s are elite route runners. That translates. Calvin has made a pretty effortless transition to the NFL. I expect Riley to do the same.

The stats aren’t going to wow you with Riley. That’s not really totally his fault. Riley caught 43 balls for 559 yards and 9 touchdowns. He also didn’t get a ton of opportunities in a conservative Georgia offense. When Jake Fromm targeted Ridley in 2018, he converted a 133.3 passer rating. That’s damn good. Ridley also recorded 1.8 yards per route run. Ridley only ran 309 routes on the entire season because the Bulldogs are a very run heavy first offense.

Riley Ridley brings two really important qualities to the table. He rarely ever drops the ball. He has great hands. Only 2 drops on 45 catchable targets. If you think about it that way, it’s remarkable Ridley put up the numbers he did a year ago. Then we talk about winning those 50/50 balls. Well, Ridley is the best in the entire draft class. Those 50/50 balls were more like 75/25 balls. Ridley was the best contested catch receiver in the SEC.

Riley Ridley

By the way, Jerry Jeudy is a monster and will be the first receiver off the board next year so that’s some awesome company to be in.

The 2019 NFL Draft is loaded with elite defensive players. That’s obvious. It wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world to go defense heavy first. Picking up a player like Riley Ridley in the 3rd round could end up paying big dividends without spending high draft capital on a receiver. Picking a receiver in the first round has been a fool’s prophecy to begin with. Ridley might be the one guy who is being slept on just because nobody is paying attention.